FORGET the hand of God, even the fist of Djoumin Sangare couldn’t get York City’s bid for the Blue Square Premier play-offs back on track.

The centre-back stole in from a Neil Barrett free-kick on 42 minutes and punched the ball past Salisbury City goalkeeper James Bittner to give the Minstermen a first-half lead at Bootham Crescent.

As our picture from The Press photographer Anthony Chappel-Ross shows, it was Sangare’s hand, and not his head, which put York in front.

But second-half goals from Reece Connolly and Darrell Clarke gave the Wiltshire side a 2-1 victory, a valuable three points in their fight against relegation – and extended York’s winless run to six.

In a pre-match boost, City boss Martin Foyle was able to include Richard Brodie, whose appearance had been in doubt after he picked up a knock at Forest Green last Saturday, in his starting line-up but David McGurk – who limped off in that 2-1 defeat – was out and captain Daniel Parslow was on the bench.

Michael Ingham took the armband in the skipper’s absence but City’s injury woes deepened just seven minutes into the match when Chris Carruthers was forced off with a knock, Courtney Pitt replacing the left-winger.

Carruthers’ misfortune was the only notable incident in a scrappy first quarter of an hour, with City content to try to test the Salisbury centre-backs with long balls up to Brodie and Michael Rankine and the visitors reluctant to push too many forward.

Brodie picked up another booking midway through the first half after clipping the heels of Sean Clohessy on the edge of the box and, after the free-kick was put behind for a corner, Connolly perhaps should have done better when hooking wide after the inswinging centre was batted around York’s six-yard box.

York’s first real moment of quality came just after the half-hour when Rankine’s searching pass put Brodie away.

The Minstermen’s goal machine surged into the box and turned Aaron Martin before curling his shot towards the far corner – only for Bittner to tip it round a post.

With the tension building, and the crowd starting to get anxious, it was down to the fans’ cult hero to provide the release.

After Pitt was tripped on the left-hand edge of the area, Barrett delivered his set-piece and Sangare stole in unmarked and directed the ball home.

Although our photograph shows it was a hand, there were neither complaints nor appeals from the Salisbury players or bench.

And the visitors produced their own piece of magic to equalise on 53 minutes. Connolly took Clohessy’s cross high on his chest, swivelled and volleyed the ball past Ingham from 30 yards for a stunning leveller.

Rankine then headed over the bar from Richard Pacquette’s cross and Luke Ruddick produced a superb tackle to rob Brodie as he ran through on goal.

Bad turned to worse for York when Salisbury took the lead on 65 minutes.

Brodie lost the ball in his own half and Salisbury swept forward quickly – the ball coming out on the right hand side for captain Clarke, who fired across Ingham into the far corner.

Foyle responded with a double substitution, bringing on Michael Gash and Adam Smith for Rankine and Pacquette.

Brodie headed just over the bar from Meredith’s cross on 83 minutes as York went in search of the equaliser and Graham headed straight at Bittner from Pitt’s cross as time wound down.

Match facts

York City 1 (Sangare 42), Salisbury 2 (Connolly 53, Clarke 65)

York City: Michael Ingham 6, Ben Purkiss 6, Djoumin Sangare 7, Luke Graham 6, James Meredith 6, Richard Pacquette 6, Jamie Clarke 6, Neil Barrett 6, Chris Carruthers, Richard Brodie 7, Michael Rankine 7.

Substitutions: Courtney Pitt for Carruthers (7 minutes, 7), Adam Smith for Pacquette (70, 7), Michael Gash for Rankine (70, 6). Not used: Daniel Parslow, Levi Mackin.

Key: 10 – Faultless; 9 – Outstanding; 8 – Excellent; 7 – Good; 6 – Average; 5 – Below par; 4 – Poor; 3 – Dud; 2 – Hopeless; 1 – Retire.

City’s star man: Michael Rankine – worked hard with little service.

Salisbury: James Bittner, Sean Clohessy, Jamie Turley, Aaron Martin, Luke Ruddick, Reece Connolly, Stuart Anderson, Darrell Clarke, Ben Adelsbury, Chris Bush (Matt Tubbs 73), Jake Reid (Bradley Gray 60). Subs (not used): Patrick Cox, Chris Flood, Ryan Price.

Booked: Brodie 22, Turley 29.

Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland). Failed to deal with persistent time-wasting.

Attendance: 1,867 (13 from Salisbury).

Shots on target: York 3, Salisbury 2.

Shots off target: York 3, Salisbury 2.

Corners: York 11, Salisbury 2.

Fouls conceded: York 8, Salisbury 8.

Offsides: York 4, Salisbury 2.